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Political Insider

An AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns. Because all politics is local.

Poll gives Democrats a shot at governor's race


Georgia Democrats have had little to rejoice over in recent years. Maybe that's why they were quick to seize on another recent poll that gives the party a reason to look forward to November.

The poll, conducted by Landmark Communications/Rosetta Stone, found that Deal leads Carter by a margin of 43 percent to 39 percent. That's within the poll's four-point margin of error. About one-fifth of voters remain undecided, and where they break could determine the race.

It's the latest poll that shows Deal hovering within a few percentage points of the critical 50 percent barrier. Polls give him a consistent advantage against his two GOP challengers, former Dalton Mayor David Pennington and state Superintendent John Barge. But his numbers dip against Carter, the grandson of the former president who faces no primary challenge of his own next month.

A second round of WSB polling is to be released tonight with head-to-head matchups of Democrat front-runner Michelle Nunn against the top GOP Senate candidates.

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At first we thought it was a lame April Fool's joke.

Senate candidate Karen Handel's campaign sends out fundraising blasts, sometimes by the hour, and apparently one of the recipients is rival GOP contender David Perdue. It seems that Perdue had an unusual reaction when he received one of those notes from a Handel ally, state Sen. Josh McKoon, touting her as "the best candidate" to defeat the Democrat in November.

"Thanks, Josh," Perdue wrote McKoon. "The latest poll numbers have her doing her usual. Thank you!"

Ouch.

McKoon told us he finds it "ironic that the candidate running ads depicting his opponents as 'crybabies' would act like a child in his response to my email." He went on to call on Perdue to be open with the public about the snafu.

Perdue's spokesman Derrick Dickey said it "was an honest mistake and no disrespect was intended." He said Perdue was simply catching up on emails and "thought one of his supporters had forwarded a message from the Handel campaign alerting him that she was attacking" given her struggles in recent polls.

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Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols isn't taking Georgia Right to Life's demotion lightly.

Echols is a staunch defender of the group and is one of the most outspoken critics of the National Right to Life's decision on Saturday to boot the group and endorse an upstart organization called Georgia Life Alliance. The root of the challenge came as a result of GRTL’s fierce opposition to allowing abortion exceptions for rape and incest.

Martha Zoller of zpolitics got into a testy exchange with Echols over the group's fate. It's worth a full listen, but here's a snippet of what Echols said:

"I think National Right to Life is probably going to ask a lot of questions today in Washington, DC to try to determine is this group really qualified to step into the shoes of Georgia Right to Life and do the job that this group is doing?"

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Don’t look now, but Congress just unanimously passed a law about healthcare.

The U.S. House passed by unanimous voice vote a bill co-written by Sens. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Bob Casey, D-Pa., to reauthorize $300 million a year in funding for graduate medical education at children’s hospitals. It now goes to the president’s desk.

The bill reauthorizes the program – first created by Congress in 1999 – through 2018. Here’s what Isakson had to say:

“Investing in our pediatric workforce and health care facilities through the Children's Hospital Graduate Medical Education program is critically important to ensuring the health of our children in Georgia and across the country.”

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As same-sex marriage bans have fallen like dominoes across the country, and prominent Democrats here have rallied to the cause, the legal scene has been quiet in Georgia. Consider this press release from the Human Rights Campaign an attempt to light a fire by drawing attention to the fact that ours is one of just five states where there is no ongoing challenge to a ban:

Dozens of court cases challenging state constitutional bans on marriage equality have been filed across the country in recent months. Yet in five states – Alaska, Georgia, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota – there is currently no litigation challenging the constitutionality of their state marriage bans. Today, 33 states prohibit marriage for same-sex couples, either in the form of statutory law or amendment to the state’s constitution.

“Georgia’s committed and loving gay and lesbian couples deserve the rights and protections that come with marriage, plain and simple,” said Fred Sainz, vice president for communications at the Human Rights Campaign. “Since the Supreme Court’s landmark marriage rulings last year, not a single state marriage ban has survived a federal court challenge. It’s only a matter of time before marriage equality is the law of the land in every corner of this great country.”

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The Karen Handel campaign is doing its best to cash in on last week's Sarah Palin endorsement. Handel is out today with a statewide, minute-long radio ad saying "you can feel the momentum" behind her campaign and quoting extensively from Palin's endorsement.

The Handel campaign expects a visit from Palin to Georgia at some point, but the details have not been finalized.


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About the Author

Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.